WikiLeaks editor and publisher Julian Assange is facing a 175 year sentence for publishing truthful information in the public interest.
Julian Assange is being sought by the current US administration for publishing US government documents which exposed war crimes and human rights abuses. The politically motivated charges represent an unprecedented attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know – seeking to criminalise basic journalistic activity.
If convicted Julian Assange faces a sentence of 175 years, likely to be spent in isolation which would drive him to commit suicide.
UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America and refused to extradite him, yet the case eventually moved to the UK Supreme Court where it overruled the decision and Assange’s extradition request moved forward to the UK Home Sectretary.
Priti Patel has now signed the request to extradite Assange.
Assange’s legal team are fighting the extradition and have now filed an appeal to the High Court. The High Court now must approve the grounds of the appeal.
If the UK extradites Assange it would violate Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty which bars extradition for political offences.
Extraditing Julian Assange to the United States would kill him.
The UN working group on arbitrary detention issued a statement saying that “the right of Mr. Assange to personal liberty should be restored”.
Massimo Moratti of Amnesty International stated: “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”
Human Rights Watch published an article saying, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”
The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.